Part 43: Interview 21 BonusBarracks 21 - Motherly Instincts
“Lysander! What’s that food you have there?”
Lysander turns around to see Talora, as usual, walking towards him. Thinking on his feet, he gives her a cheeky grin.
“Ah, this is just a little something from the cute girl who works in the kitchen, that’s all.”
“She’s not on duty today.” Talora says, staring reproachfully at Lysander until he relents.
“Alright, alright, I may have nabbed a couple of goodies for myself. I was hungry, ma’am.”
“Don’t ‘ma’am’ me, young man!” scolds Talora. “Go and put that food back and wait until teatime.”
“What are ya, my mother?”
Talora shrugs. “I just worry about you, Lysander. You’re always getting yourself into trouble.”
Lysander tries to think of a snide comment, but the look on Talora’s face reminds him too much of his mother, and he sighs.
“Sorry, Talora. Really, I am. I was the same at home, too. My mother used to make excuses for me, but my father wanted to straighten me out. ...That’s why I’m here. He packed me off to the army.”
“It doesn’t seem to be doing you much good.” murmurs Talora.
“My mother really didn’t want me to go. She opposed my father every step of the way, but… really, she’s powerless. What he says goes. Always.”
The wind is out of Lysander’s sails, and he hands the food to Talora. “Take that to the kitchen. I’ll head back to my room and wait for tea.”
Without waiting to hear Talora’s response, Lysander walks away, and Talora wishes, for a moment, that there is something she can do for him. For now, however, she opts to give him some space, and heads back to the barracks kitchen; on the way, however, she bumps into a gathering of ladies in the break room.
“Oh, hello!” she says, heading inside. Vanessa, Sofia and Minerva are conversing, and they fall quiet as Talora enters.
“Talora, welcome. Would you like to join us?”
“Oh, would I ever?” Talora replies, sitting and placing the food down. “We can’t eat this, unfortunately. I just took it from Lysander; he’d raided the kitchens again. That boy really is hard to control.”
Sofia nods. “I can imagine… you’re doing well to be looking after him, though.”
“Do you have children, Sofia?” asks Minerva.
Sofia nods. “I, um… yes. One. Anyway, Vanessa, how are you feeling?”
Vanessa looks up, as if surprised to be addressed. She nods.
“I… suppose. Tomorrow’s battle is going to be difficult, and of course she’s in charge. Rose, I don’t mind, but it really boils my blood, having to take orders from Sonja.”
“Have you tried speaking to her about it? If you went to military academy together, perhaps you could work something out.” suggests Talora.
Vanessa shakes her head. “I don’t wanna do that.”
“Consider it. Be brave and face your problems head-on.” Minerva says.
“What, like you with Kanbei?” Vanessa replies.
“Th-that’s different!” squeaks Minerva, blushing deeply. “I’m happy just admiring him fr-from afar… no need to tell him how I feel.”
Sofia observes the conversation without butting in. Talora, however, places a hand on Vanessa’s shoulder.
“Tell you what. After the battle, why not arrange a meeting and talk to Sonja face-to-face about it? Just explain your issue, and perhaps you’ll discover why Sonja became CO over you.”
“I already know why!” Vanessa seethes. “Kanbei plays favourites!”
After a few moments of silence, however, Vanessa calms down and nods.
“...Right. I’ll go talk to her after the battle, then. Let’s drop it for now, and talk about something else, OK?”
“As you wish.” Minerva says. “But, uh, not me and Kanbei, please…”